InPhase launches holographic storage

April 28, 2008 // 8:21 a.m.

Tags: #backup #holographic #inphase #lto3 #storage #tape #tapestry #ultrium

If you've finally got round to buying a next-generation removable storage device – having waited to ascertain the victor in the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray battle – then perhaps it's not a good time to mention the next-next-gen – holographic storage.

InPhase Technologies has been promising 300GB discs for eight years now, but if a report over at ZDNet is to be believed they might finally be making good and delivering a usable product.

The Tapestry drive uses 12cm plastic discs to store up to 300GB of data in holographic form – and unlike CDs and DVDs, the company is confident that the data will remain readable for a minimum of fifty years. With current-generation optical storage becoming unreadable after a little as five years due to unstable phase-change dyes, and even high-end tape-based magnetic storage degrading before the half-century mark, it's quite a leap forward.

At the prices InPhase are talking about – you'll need to find £9,000 to buy the drive and then around £90 per disc if you buy in bulk – the device is clearly aimed at replacing tape backup systems such as the LTO Ultrium series. The latest Ultrium standard, LTO3, stores 400GB per tape compared to Tapestry's 300GB, and is significantly faster – but is incapable of random access to data, and would require refreshing long before the fifty year lifespan of the Tapestry media is up.

The company are clearly looking to the future, too: the next iteration of Tapestry will store 800GB and write at a rate of 80MB/s, and when they've licked that they'll start work on a 1.6TB unit capable of 120MB/s writing. Which would blow pretty much every traditional backup system out of the water, frankly.

While the prices would have to get significantly lower before anyone would consider holographic storage a mass-market technology, it's nice to see that the company can deliver on what certainly sounds like the future of removable storage.

What's your take on holographic storage – is it a likely to make an impact on the desktop, or will it end up a datacentre-only toy? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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